Medical laboratory scientists, also called medical technologists, are highly trained health care professionals who perform hundreds of different types of tests critical to the diagnosis, treatment, management and prevention of disease. Since medical laboratory scientists generate as much as 70 percent of the data found in a patient's medical record, they are, without a doubt, critical members of the health care team. These professionals use sophisticated biomedical instrumentation, microscopes and computers to analyze blood, urine and other body fluids. They work in a variety of laboratory settings, including hospitals and clinics, research facilities, public health agencies, clinical laboratory-related industries and forensics laboratories.
The job market is excellent for medical laboratory scientists. Hospitals and other health care facilities throughout the United States are facing a critical shortage of qualified medical laboratory personnel. Entry-level salaries are increasing, and many hospitals are offering sign-on bonuses.
To become certified as a medical laboratory scientist, students must attend an accredited program that leads to a BS or MS such as the ones available at Rush University, and pass a national certifying exam. Before beginning studies at Rush, students spend at least two years completing coursework at a college associated with Rush, or at any accredited university, college or community college. At Rush University, students take classes and receive hands-on training in hematology, coagulation, clinical immunology, blood banking (immunohematology), microbiology, parasitology, virology, molecular techniques, clinical chemistry and body fluids. They also take courses in management, research, regulatory issues and laboratory informatics.